Tony A. Smith

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Go The Distance




Did you know the first stop sign ever installed was installed in Detroit, Michigan way back in 1915? The first stop sign was a two foot by two foot square piece of metal with black letters on a white background. During that same year the first electric traffic signal was installed not far from there in Cleveland, Ohio. I guess it just kind of makes sense that stop signs and stop lights should first be installed in a place where cars were first mass-produced. This is not a post about stop signs and the history of stop lights. All I really wanted to do in the beginning here was to get you to think about stopping and putting your life on pause every now and then for the things that are important to you.

Sometimes we get so busy in our life when we get to be adults that we can’t seem to find the time to keep up with our parents when we get older and start a family of our own. I was guilty of doing that as well. When I graduated from college I moved away to Michigan and lived a great distance from both my mom and dad. I tried to get back to visit them as often as possible over the holidays. I know I certainly didn’t call as often as I would have liked to. My dad passed away a few years ago after a short battle with lung cancer. I have regrets about not only spending more time with him when he was sick but prior to that as well. I wish I could have just a few more minutes with him to talk things over on the phone like we used to or just one more visit. I miss that gleam in his eye and him patting me on the back and asking me how life is going. I miss the sound of his voice and the calm and reassurance that life was going to be okay. I wish I would have traveled back more often to visit or picked up the phone to give him a call just to say hello or ask him how his day was going.

There is a hit song by Harry Chapin from 1974 that kind of hits on this point about life and how we all get so busy with life that we end up not remembering what is really important. Part of the lyrics of the song go as follows…

“I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away

 I called him up just the other day

 I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”

 He said, “I’d love to Dad, if I could find the time”


 “You see my new job’s a hassle and the kids have the flu

 But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad

 It’s been sure nice talking to you,”


And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon

 Little boy blue and the man in the moon

 When you comin’ home, son, I don’t know when

 We’re gonna have a good time then.


Yes, I wish I would have come home more often and I wish I would have called more often. It’s too late now though. How about you? Don’t let it be too late. Stop – find the time – whenever you can. I promise you that you won’t ever regret it!